For a long time, flapjacks have suffered a depressing reputation as a healthy snack, but one look at the ingredients list should explain why they’re so delicious. They’re also ridiculously quick and easy to make, extremely versatile (some inspiration for getting more creative below) and, should you need further justification, all those oats mean they’re no slouch in the fibre department, either.
Prep 10 min
Cook 25-30 min
250g jumbo oats (see step 1)
200g quick-cook chopped oats
300g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
75g demerara sugar
120g golden syrup
Pinch of salt
1 One oat or two?
The combination of oats in this recipe is to give the flapjacks a more interesting texture, while ensuring they hold together – if youuse only one of them, it will still work, but the end result may end up a bit smooth and boring (in the case of just chopped oats) or frustratingly crumbly (with just jumbo oats).
2 Grease and line a baking tin
To make the most basic version of flapjacks, heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6 for the crispy, granola-bar style, or 160C (140C fan)/325F/gas 3 if you prefer them soft and chewy. Grease a 30cm x 20cm baking tin, then line with baking or greaseproof paper – cut a slit in each corner, so the paper fits more neatly.
3 Make the base mix
Put the butter in a pan (it needs to be large enough to hold all the oats with room to spare later), add the sugar, golden syrup and a generous pinch of salt, and put over a low heat. Leave to melt together slowly, stir to combine, then add the oats and take off the heat.
4 Stir to coat, then pour into the tin
Stir in the oats, making sure they’re all well coated in the buttery syrup and that there are no dry patches lurking in the middle, then carefully (the mix will be very hot) spoon the lot into the prepared tin and press down with the back of the spoon, so the mixture is flat on top and well packed in.
5 Bake, cool and cut
Bake the flapjacks for 25 minutes for a chewy result or 30 minutes for a crunchy one, and in both instances until the mixture is set and golden.
Leave to sit and cool for about five minutes, then cut into squares and leave to cool completely in the tin; the flapjacks will harden as they do so. Once cool, store in an air-tight container, where they’ll keep for up to 10 or so days.
6 Or mix and match the grains
If you’d like to ring the changes, replace about 100g of the oats with another grain – corn, bran, spelt or buckwheat flakes, say, or puffed rice, or even Cheerios or similar. Note that if you’re making these for someone who can’t tolerate gluten, you’ll need to look for gluten-free oats for minimal risk of contamination.
7 Dairy-free options
To make the flapjacks dairy-free, swap the butter for dairy-free spread, or coconut oil or similar – you can even use olive or vegetable oil, though, depending on what you use, you may need to play around with the proportions. I also like swapping half the fat for crunchy peanut butter.
8 Variations on the theme
Nice as plain flapjacks are, they’re even better with a few more ingredients: a generous handful of nuts or seeds, some roughly chopped dried fruit or even some chunks of chocolate are all welcome additions. If you put in a lot extra, however, cut down a bit on the oats or the mix won’t bind together.
9 Other possible additions
Try replacing the golden syrup with honey, or adding flavourings to the butter mixture in step 3 – a pinch of cinnamon or mixed spice, some finely chopped rosemary leaves or a dash of vanilla essence would all be delicious, as would apple puree or mashed ripe banana. In fact, maybe flapjacks aren’t so unhealthy, after all.